WARREN - St. Joseph Health Center and Akron Children's Hospital signed an agreement for Akron Children's to operate the pediatric unit and special care nursery at St. Joseph Health Center beginning later this year.
"This relationship will build upon St. Joseph's strong pediatric program and make it easier for Trumbull County families to access a full range of pediatric services," said Kathy Cook, president, St. Joseph Health Center.
According to the plan, Akron Children's will operate a seven-bed pediatric and six-bed special care nursery. Hospital officials said they expect the transition to be seamless for patients and families.
"We recognize the need to bring Akron Children's pediatric expertise closer to where our families live, and we are pleased to partner with St. Joseph Health Center to provide this care to families in Trumbull County," said Shawn Lyden, executive vice president, Akron Children's Hospital.
The plan will upgrade the special care nursery from Level I to Level II to serve higher-acuity babies.
A Level II nursery is able to care for babies born up to eight weeks premature, who weigh at least three pounds and who are physiologically immature, such as those who have breathing problems or are unable to feed orally.
"Since I have worked closely with the obstetricians and pediatricians for more than 20 years, I am excited to continue the collaboration with St. Joseph Health Center and enhance the care of our young patients closer to home," said Dr. Elena Rossi, neonatologist and associate chair of pediatrics for Akron Children's Hospital Mahoning Valley.
Akron Children's and St. Joseph Health Center are working collaboratively to integrate quality monitoring and performance improvement programs, bringing together the best of both organizations, according to a joint news release.
Akron Children's also operates pediatric units at Aultman Hospital in Canton and East Liverpool City Hospital in East Liverpool.
With eight specialties on the US News & World Report Best Children's Hospitals rankings, Akron Children's is the largest pediatric provider in northeast Ohio.
It operates two hospital campuses, 20 primary care and 63 pediatric specialty locations comprising more than 650,000 patient visits a year.
Humility of Mary Health Partners network includes St. Elizabeth, St. Joseph and St. Elizabeth Boardman health centers, along with multiple ancillary services and locations.
HMHP is part of Catholic Health Partners, the largest health system in Ohio and fourth-largest employer.